Cheap European travel and the plethora of cooking programmes have made olive oil a serious alternative to butter and other fats. Supermarkets shelves are always stacked with ten or more different brands or styles. This of course increases when the warmer weather arrives and shoppers are happy to swap gutsy food for lighter salads drizzled in olive oil based dressings.
What is the difference between virgin and extra virgin olive oil? Olive oil produced in the European Union is graded by acidity levels. To be labelled ‘extra virgin’, the level of acidity must be no more than one gram per litre; ‘virgin oil’ has a level of above one gram to a maximum of two grams per litre. The very best olive oils hover around 0.3g of acidity.
Demand for top notch boutique extra virgin olive, like blue chip burgundy outstrips supply and won’t be found on the supermarket shelves. They are rare expensive treat for the few!
For cooking and salad dressings, don’t be sniffy about the own brands – they have improved big time over the last twenty years. Put a bottle in the trolley
Competing Brands: Bertolli, Filippo Berio & Napolina